As Zimbabwe continues to battle acute electricity shortages energy minister Fortune Chasi last week took the decision to dissolve the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) board.
Chasi defended his decision stating that the board was not doing much to address the power challenges. The Board has failed to “appreciate the urgency of the situation we are in”, he said.
In an interview with local newspaper, The Herald, Chasi said he will replace the board with people who do not wait for monthly or quarterly meetings to address power challenges confronting the nation.
Asked why he had sacked the board, which was only appointed on March 19 this year, Chasi said: “I want people who appreciate the urgency of the situation we are in. I did not see that in them.”
“The challenges at ZESA are deep-seated and they need people who are hands-on, who will not wait for a quarterly meeting or monthly meeting or things like that. So I will be looking around for men and women of integrity who have experience; proven, not academic persons.”
The Minister also recently announced that he is contemplating cancelling over 30 Independent Power Producer contracts because the projects have never materialised.
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In late May, the minister informed Parliament that the Kariba dam could be forced to stop production within 14 weeks as a result of falling water levels.
As such, the country wants to boost imports from South Africa, which have been curtailed due to non-payment. To accomplish this, Zimbabwe must first work out a payment plan for the estimated $33m it owes South Africa’s state-owned power utility, Eskom.
Minister Fortune Chasi said board changes at Zesa will not stop plans to engage with Eskom. “We still have an executive, there is a team that will go ahead and engage Eskom.”
Once an agreement has been reached, Zimbabwe hopes Eskom will boost exports to Zimbabwe by up to 400MW per day.
The supplies will be during off-peak periods and will allow Zimbabwe to shut off and conserve water at Kariba Dam.